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More than 2,000 people on Malo Island benefit from largest Vanuatu water system

© UNICEF Pacific/2017/Ing

Port Vila, 28 November 2017: Today is a day of celebration for Vanuatu, particularly children and women on Malo Island, as the largest water system in Vanuatu spanning 44km benefitting over 2,000 people is launched.

Minister of Lands and Natural Resources, Hon. Ralph Regenvanu stated, “This project has pulled together many key partners of the government to address the crucial need for safe water, sanitation and hygiene in the communities on Malo Island in line with the National Water Strategy’s vision of sustainable and equitable access to safe water and sanitation for the people of Vanuatu.”

East Malo communities no longer have to rely on rainwater but now have access to piped water that is more reliable during the dry season. Situated just outside of Santo, Malo Island’s 19 villages on the east side will benefit from the construction of the largest water system in Vanuatu.

Andrew Parker, UNICEF Vanuatu’s Chief of Field Office stated, “UNICEF is proud to support the Government and partners in the water and sanitation sector to implement a project that has far reaching benefits for women and children.” He added, “Due to Vanuatu’s vulnerability to natural hazards a focus on increasing the community’s resilience is key.”  

As part of the Government’s Water and Sanitation Sector Strengthening Project, the NZD2.5 million Malo project in East Malo, West Ambae, and Malekula is a collaboration between the Department of Water Resources – Ministry of Land & Natural Resources, the New Zealand Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade (MFAT), and the United Nations Children’s Fund together with World Vision International Vanuatu. 

“Improving access to safe water and sanitation for people and communities is part of New Zealand’s commitment to improving health outcomes in Vanuatu,” said New Zealand’s High Commissioner to Vanuatu, Georgina Roberts. “New Zealand is pleased to have supported the Government of Vanuatu and partners to deliver reliable safe water and sanitation to the people of Malo, contributing to improved health and wellbeing, which underpins Vanuatu’s social and economic development.” 

Since April 2016 when the Malo project began, communities have accessed improved sanitation through construction of 300 household toilets using local materials as well as improved hygiene practices through participatory hygiene and sanitation trainings for all communities. Community action plans, including drinking water safety and security planning, has also led to sustained benefits for communities.

“The children of East Malo will not forget the day water came to their school. Women sing for joy now they no longer have to walk several hours to collect water and the men are proud that their sweat from digging the pipeline has resulted in safe water for their communities,” said Michael Wolfe, World Vision Country Director. “World Vision is honoured to partner with the Vanuatu government, MFAT and UNICEF to enable access to safe water for 100 per cent of the population of East Malo with dedicated staff together with community members across East Malo to help achieve great results,” he added.

Community ownership through effective water management committee with strong representation from woman is vital. A total of 13 water sanitation and hygiene committees with one umbrella committee were established in East Malo that includes more than 40 per cent women.

About the Vanuatu Ministry of Lands & Natural Resources

The Ministry of Lands and Natural Resources oversees the functions of the Department of Lands, the Department of Water Resources, the Department of Geology and Mines, and the Office of The Valuer General. The main areas we focus on are: ensuring there is fair dealing in lands; and ensuring that the rights of Custom Owners to their lands, and its developments, are fully recognized and protected. For more information visit:

 About the New Zealand Aid Programme

The Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade, New Zealand Aid Programme delivers New Zealand’s official support for developing countries. The purpose of New Zealand’s aid is to develop shared prosperity and stability in the Pacific and beyond, drawing on the best of New Zealand’s knowledge and skills. We support sustainable development in developing countries to reduce poverty and contribute to a more secure, equitable and prosperous world. For more information visit:

About World Vision International Vanuatu

World Vision is a Christian relief, development and advocacy organisation dedicated to working with children, families and communities to overcome poverty and injustice. We are 50,000 dedicated and passionate staff and volunteers assisting 100 million people worldwide (including 2.4 million children) in over 90 countries. World Vision is committed to helping children enjoy life in all its fullness. Our work with families, communities and local partners strives to improve the well-being of vulnerable children, in the most important aspects of their lives. Our efforts address basic needs, but also go beyond those to include the spiritual, psychological and relational aspects of thriving in a vibrant and empowered community. For more information on our work in Vanuatu please visit


UNICEF promotes the rights and wellbeing of every child, in everything we do.  Together with our partners, we work in 190 countries and territories to translate that commitment into practical action, focusing special effort on reaching the most vulnerable and excluded children, to the benefit of all children, everywhere. For more information about UNICEF and its work for children, visit  Follow UNICEF on Twitter and Facebook 

For more information, please contact:

Annie Samuels, Department of Water Resources, 5333820,

Rebecca Olul, UNICEF Vanuatu Field Office, +678 24655, +678 77 666 04,

Michael Wolfe, World Vision Vanuatu, +678 555 2704,



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